District to launch Transitional Kindergarten

05.02.2012 | The Reedley Exponent | Valerie Nevens

Transitional kindergarten, a pre-kindergarten class for kids just shy of the birthday cutoff to begin kindergarten, will be offered for the first time at Parlier Unified starting this fall.

At the Parlier Unified School District board meeting on April 24, Assistant Superintendent Martin Mares gave the board members an overview of the program and explained why it is necessary to implement and how it will help children on the cusp of entering kindergarten.

The program, Mares explained, is one all school districts in the state will be required to offer by the 2013-2014 school year and was established by the Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010. The intent of it is to better equip young students with the best foundational education possible so they will be successful in the future. Gradually, over the next few academic years, the transitional kindergarten entry date will change from those that turn five by Dec. 2 to those turning five by Sept.. This upcoming year the date will be moved back to Nov. 1, in fall 2013 it will change to Oct. 1 and then in 2014 will change to Sept. 1.

Mares said the program will be a triple win for children, parents and the school district.

“Children will be better prepared to succeed in kindergarten and beyond,” Mares said. “The program also gives parents an additional option to help their children enter kindergarten with the maturity and skills needed to excel. Schools will also benefit because they will be able to do more with what they have because transitional kindergarten will ensure more students succeed when they reach kindergarten.”

Basically, the program will be like an extra year of kindergarten for those students born between Sept. 1 and Dec. 2. The first year would be transitional kindergarten and the second year kindergarten. When fully implemented by 2015, 120,000 more children will receive an additional year of preparation to boost K-12 success. Enrollment in the program will be voluntary and up to parents.

Several districts have already implemented similar programs. Los Angeles Unified started the pilot transitional kindergarten program at 36 school sites, serving 11,000 children. Now, the district plans to launch it at 00 more schools. Sacramento City Unified also has a similar program called Early Kinder, which it has started in three classrooms.

More locally, Kingsburg Elementary Charter School District has a transitional kindergarten program which emphasized focused instruction and hands-on activates to develop skills and concepts at each student’s own pace.

Parents interested in enrolling their children in Parlier Unified’s transitional kindergarten class can attend a transitional kindergarten orientation on May 8 at 5 p.m. at any of the four elementary schools, Cesar E. Chavez, Mathew J. Brletic, S. Ben Benavidez or John C. Martinez.

Registration for the classes will be from May 15-May 17. Cesar E. Chavez transitional kindergarten registration is May 15, from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Regisrtation at Mathew J. Brletic is May 16 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Registration at S. Ben Benavidez is May 17 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and registration at John C. Martinez is May 16 from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Registration dates and times for regular kindergarten classes are the same at each site as the dates and times for transitional kindergarten registration.

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